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eSIM - Statistics & Facts

With the increasingly interconnected future of technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular, embedded SIM or eSIM technology is expected to overtake the SIM market within a few years. Whereas traditional SIM cards consist of a piece of hardware – a universal integrated circuit card (UICC) – which must be manually inserted into a device and support only one mobile network operator (MNO), eSIM is essentially a virtualized SIM card, or eUICC, permanently installed during the manufacturing stage which allows the user to switch operators without switching a physical SIM card. This flexibility offers a range of benefits such that a vast majority of MNOs and device manufacturers plan to adopt the technology by 2025.

While the potential for eSIM is touted as the future …

There are multiple industries which for which eSIM holds much potential, with smartphones and other consumer devices leading the pack as likely to account for the greatest share of eSIM production worldwide. The automotive industry, however, was also projected to hold a large share of the eSIM market.

The number of MNOs offering an eSIM service for smartphones has seen an accelerated increase since 2018, and the total number of eSIM shipments (i.e., for all devices across the world), has an even more exponentially steep forecast from 2021 to 2030. Companies enabling eSIM adoption are beginning to distinguish themselves in this new market.

… several challenges to eSIM adoption require attention

Despite the high forecasts and importance of eSIM for future business, the rate of adoption remains low. Consumer awareness of this technology had marginally increased in multiple countries by 2021, yet remained low overall. The main challenges involved in eSIM rollout revolve around the lack of technology and technical support in general, particularly on the side of operators who both see the potential of eSIM yet also harbor concerns about the ease with which consumers may switch to a different operator, known as "churn".

Nevertheless, the number of operators that launched commercial eSIM services for smartphones – the device most likely to increase consumer interest in eSIM – has steadily increased, fulfilling expectations of eSIM being the future of interoperable systems.

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